World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day Quick Facts - CA

HashtagsCompiled on#WorldPrematurityDay2024, #WorldPrematurityDay
Related Hashtags#BornTooSoon, #SkinToSkin
2024 DateNovember 17, 2024
2025 DateNovember 17, 2025

World Prematurity Day

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World Prematurity Day History

World Prematurity Day aims to raise awareness about premature births and the significant health challenges they can pose. This global observance highlights the importance of investing in research, healthcare, and policies to reduce the rate of preterm births and improve outcomes for babies born prematurely. Premature birth is a leading cause of infant mortality worldwide, and preterm infants often require specialized care and face long-term complications, such as developmental delays, impaired vision, and hearing, and chronic lung disease.

World Prematurity Day is observed annually on November 17th, with a history dating back to 2011 when the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) began the movement. In Canada, approximately 8% of all births are preterm, with over 30,000 babies born prematurely each year. These premature births have led to substantial economic and emotional challenges for Canadian families and healthcare systems. Efforts in Canada to tackle premature births include the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation's advocacy for access to quality healthcare, adequate facilities, family-centered care, and government support and funding.

To observe World Prematurity Day in Canada, various organizations and individuals participate in activities to increase awareness and spark conversations about the challenges and solutions related to prematurity. These activities often include hosting virtual events, talks, and community gatherings, as well as lighting buildings in purple, the colour symbolizing premature births. Additionally, social media and traditional media engage with people across the country to share stories or experiences, publish research and discuss policy initiatives specific to Canada's context to address the issue of prematurity.

World Prematurity Day facts

  • Around the world, 1 in 10 babies are born premature every year according to the World Health Organization.
  • According to the WHO, Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 worldwide.
  • Premature births can occur for a variety of reasons. They can be caused by multiple pregnancies, advanced maternal age, infections and conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or genetic influence. Some can occur spontaneously and for unknown reasons.
  • Prematurity is the leading cause of infant death in Canada during the first year of life. It is also a significant cause of long-term health issues and disabilities among children.
  • The preterm birth rate is higher in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut compared to the national average.

Top things to do in Canada for World Prematurity Day

  • Raise awareness on social media by using the tags #PrematurityAwarenessMonth and #WorldPrematurityDay on your social media
  • Learn more about prematurity at World Prematurity Day Factsheet.
  • Contact neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) or hospitals in your area to inquire about their needs. You can donate essential items like blankets, clothing, books, or toys specifically designed for premature babies.
  • Take the opportunity to educate yourself and those around you about preterm birth. Watch documentaries or read books and articles on the subject. Share the information you learn with your friends, family, and colleagues to raise awareness.

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